Dhaka, Bangladesh
Sights on $243b Islamic tourism bonanza

Dhaka OIC City of Tourism

Sights on $243b Islamic tourism bonanza

PM Hasina for roadmap to tap potential

News Desk: Bangladesh boasts having world's largest contiguous mangrove forest and longest unbroken sea beach besides a repository of historical relics as general tourist attractions. Islamic legacies and relics related to Muslim monarchs and saints are special to the Islamic world-and the untapped potential of Islamic tourism is huge. Worldwide, a $243-billion worth of Islamic tourism is estimated. Much of the potential was portrayed Thursday at a celebration of the recognition of Dhaka as Islamic tourism city by the largest Muslim bloc of the world-the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation or OIC. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in her address to the gathering in Dhaka listed the tourist attractions, particularly those having Islamic heritage, while calling for the OIC member-countries to tap the potential of the fastest-growing sector of the present times. She stressed unassailable unity of the Muslim 'Ummah' in their own interest so that all can advance together. The premier, in particular, stressed the need for preparing a roadmap to promote Islamic tourism as a global brand to unlock the potential of its rapidly growing market. "The value of Islamic tourism market will increase to $243 billion by 2021 with an annual 8.3 percent growth. So, we'll have to take all-out efforts and prepare a roadmap aimed at promoting Islamic tourism as a global business brand, which will attract tourists further," she said. Her remarks came while inaugurating the two-day official celebration programme of 'Dhaka the OIC City of Tourism-2019' at the Intercontinental Hotel in the capital city. According to a report, the number of Muslim tourists will rise to 180 million by 2020 from 156 million. By 2020, the world's Muslim population will be 26 percent, she mentioned. A Thomson-Reuters report says, Muslim populations have globally spent a total of $151 billion on travel in 2015 (excluding Hajj and Umrah). Of the amount, OIC member states contributed $109 billion, the PM noted. Sheikh Hasina said tourism is the fastest-growing sector greatly contributing to the generation of foreign exchange and employment across the world. "There's an urgent need for flourishing our tourism sector (to attain our development targets). In this case, Islamic tourism is the best possible area where we've the opportunity and potentials to work together," she said.

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